Thursday, December 22, 2016
The founding convention of the Canadian Labour Congress took place 60 years ago in 1956. That founding convention not only brought together workers from across Canada it also witnessed the chartering of local labour councils across Canada. One such labour council was the Owen Sound and District Labour Council. From 1956 to 1995 the Owen Sound and District Labour Council provided a voice to workers across our region and has proudly continued doing this noble and needed work since 1995 when the name was changed to the Grey-Bruce Labour Council. The new year and the council's 61st continuous year of operation starts the new decade for the Grey-Bruce Labour Council. Labour Councils are the very grassroots of the Labour Movement. Workers at the community or local level are able to work towards the betterment of their members and the entire community through labour council involvement. Even though 2017 represents the start of another decade, the only change will be that the labour council in light of the ongoing attacks on workers' rights and the undermining of communities and pubic services will have to work harder than ever to ensure that workers and their families have safe workplaces, safe communities, adequate public services and the opportunity for a dignified retirement. The January 2017 meeting of the labour council will see a setting of local work priorities along with campaign priorities that will assist with provincial and national goals for the labour and the social justice movements. OPSEU is driving a campaign called "We Own It". The focus is to do all things possible to ensure that our public services are adequately funded and accessible. The Grey-Bruce Labour Council anxiously looks forward to assisting with this campaign. Many unionized workplaces have yet to become active in the Grey-Bruce Labour Council and it will be a priority of the council to reach out to these local unions, federations, lodges, etc. in hopes of involving them in the work of the Labour Council. Looking past the early part of the upcoming year, the labour council will be undertaking the required work to organize no less than three Day of Mourning ceremonies to remember workers killed and injured in the workplace, the awarding of the Robert White Social Justice Awards in June, the Labour Day parade in September and the Activist Awards dinner in November. The Labour Council Affiliates contribute so much to the community and the region through their work in the labour council that the very fabric of our community would be damaged if they were to step back only marginally. As we reach out to the community through the United Way and the Four County Planning Board the labour council hopes to exceed its grasp and make the community and the region all the stronger and better for all citizens.